The UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies is hosting a free, two-day conference in recognition of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death.

“Leonardo da Vinci, Inventing the Future: Flight, Automata, Art, Anatomy, Biomorphism” will be held Friday Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19. The conference will be held at the California NanoSystems Institute; you can see a full schedule here.

This event approaches da Vinci’s influence in an unusal way. Rather than simply celebrating da Vinci’s life, works and scholarship, the conference will focus on how he might have reflected on his work. The conference is broad-ranging and interdisciplinary, bringing together faculty from north and south campus, Southern California, and around the world, in the arts, humanities and sciences.

The conference will be accompanied by an exhibition of relevant facsimiles of da Vinci’s drawings matched with photographs of contemporary dissections and modern artistic works from the Department of Artistic Anatomy of the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Items from the Elmer Belt Library of Vinciana in the UCLA Library Special Collections will also be on display. Additionally, a film on the life of Leonardo da Vinci will be shown courtesy of the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles.

Presentations are about da Vinci’s ideas going forward in the modern world. An Apollo astronaut, an eminent heart surgeon, a distinguished chemist and 18 other accomplished authorities in their fields are among the speakers. UCLA’s speakers include Kalyanam Shivkumar, professor of medicine, radiology and bioengineering in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; James Gimzewski, professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the UCLA College; Victoria Vesna professor of design and media arts in the UCLA Schoool of the Arts and Architecture; and Victoria Steele, curator at UCLA Collections.

The conference is presented by the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at the medical school, UCLA Art Science Center and Caltech.